Defining a cloud workload
In the past, organizations were using backup infrastructure for long term retention of data and compliance. This may seem very cost effective from a storage medium perspective but it can be extremely expensive when data needs to be retrieved. For this reason, many businesses today are exploring the cloud for their storage options.
What do you need to consider when moving your business and service applications to the cloud? First, you need to evaluate and determine what it's going to take to get your workloads to the cloud, then decide how you want to deploy them and finally consider the cloud services required to best manage them, efficiently and cost-effectively. Moving to the cloud is more than an idea, it’s the process of transforming your infrastructure into a strategic plan.
Steps to identify, quantify and deploy a cloud infrastructure
STEP 1: Perform a Cloud Workload Analysis to determine your bandwidth needs
A cloud workload analysis looks at all the apps running in your organization, how you can best optimize your backup and disaster recovery plans and finally, manage storage as profitably as possible. For example, applying data storage tiering to the cloud by wrapping your web applications and batch processing to applications that require dynamic scaling. While each application is unique, it's important to evaluate which are ideal for the cloud.
There are some clear choices, including apps with unpredictable growth, those requiring partial utilization or the need to scale horizontally rather than up. Apps that are public facing might experience increased demand server space overnight, like social gaming, blogs, eCommerce and software-as-a-service products cannot be predicted. When site traffic spikes, you can easily scale up and down in the cloud to support the sudden demand without over-provisioning your infrastructure. For fluctuating traffic to support daily activity, you might only have partial utilization needs allowing you to easily spin up extra servers during the peaks and reduce your servers afterwards. And finally, apps that require parallelization, like media streaming apps, can be scaled horizontally to support the need to scale out rather than up.
STEP 2: Selecting your Cloud Service
Microsoft Azure offers a complete, consistent platform for on premises, Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS) that runs in or across Private Cloud, Hosters, Public Cloud, and Hybrid scenarios. In an Azure environment you gain access to compute power, networking, and caching, all on a global scale. You can load your apps and virtual machines to run on it in an all-in mode or in a hybrid mode.
Microsoft Azure is the only major cloud platform ranked by Gartner as an industry leader for both infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and platform-as-a-service (PaaS). This powerful combination of managed and unmanaged services lets you build, deploy, and manage applications any way you like for unmatched productivity.
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
With Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) the lower levels of the stack are managed by a vendor. Some of these components can be provided by traditional hosters, but very few actually provide an operating system. You are still responsible for managing everything from the operating system through the applications. The benefit with IaaS is that it frees the developer from many concerns when provisioning physical or virtual machines.
Platform as a Service (PaaS)
With Platform as a Service (PaaS) everything from the network connectivity through the runtime is provided and managed by the platform vendor. Microsoft Azure provides access to the underlying virtualization or operating system, often referred to as not providing IaaS. PaaS offerings further reduce the developer burden by additionally supporting the platform runtime and related application services. With PaaS, the developer can, almost immediately, begin creating the business logic for an application. Potentially, the increases in productivity are considerable and, because the hardware and operational aspects of the cloud platform are also managed by the cloud platform provider, applications can quickly be taken from an idea to reality very quickly.
Software as a Service (SaaS)
Software as a Service (SaaS). With SaaS, a vendor provides the application and abstracts customers from all of the underlying components. Office 365 and Salesforce.com are both are examples of “software as a service.”
STEP 3: Evaluate what type of Cloud Infrastructure is right for your business
The ideal of cloud computing is that you can use multiple resource pools – public cloud, private cloud, hybrid, your internal data center – choose a combination to meet your business needs. How do these compare?
A private Cloud provides maximum control as IT organizations can host data and applications on dedicated hardware. Besides using dedicated hardware, as opposed to public Clouds where data and applications are hosted on shared environments, IT organizations can maintain their own operations. This is the most secure option but will result in higher workload costs.
Learn more about Private Cloud Solutions
Public Clouds offer the elasticity and the illusion of infinite capacity that IT organizations look for. They take advantage of economies-of-scale, meaning that service providers of public Clouds host workloads from countless IT organizations, offering more attractive pricing.
Learn more about Public Cloud Solutions
The hybrid Cloud model allows IT organizations to mix and match private, public, and internal IT environments. Workloads that have a sensitive data component but need lots of processing power are good candidates for hybrid Cloud deployment. The hybrid model allows for having the data within an organization's data center while utilizing processing power from the Cloud. This deployment model takes advantage of Cloud services while still making use of investments that were made in internal IT assets.
Learn more about Hybrid Cloud Solutions
Assessing your environment, and defining your cloud needs, requires cloud expertise
Bishop can assess your environment, evaluate the current state of your infrastructure and assign specific tasks that are required to be cloud-ready. Before you move to the cloud, you need to figure out what it's going to take. Learn more about our Office 365 Readiness Assessment.